Apology to families of beach massacre victims at inquest

The families of Britons killed in a terrorist attack in Tunisia have received an apology after they had to sit through 'distressing' inquest evidence with no prior warning.

Thursday, 19th January 2017, 12:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th January 2017, 12:26 pm
Denis and Elaine Thwaites

The hearing into the deaths of the 30 British holidaymakers in Sousse in June 2015 began on Wednesday with an apology to the relatives in court.

Samantha Leek QC, counsel to the inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, was referring to a witness statement that was read out on Tuesday afternoon.

The statement of Camilla Bekkevold, resort team manager of travel company TUI UK, included a first-hand account of the day of the attack in which she mentioned seeing bodies and referred to possessions such as a sun hat covered in blood.

Ms Leek said: “Some of the families in court yesterday were understandably upset during the course of the reading of Camilla Bekkevold’s statement.

“I apologise that we had not warned that that potentially distressing material was coming.”

The statement said: “I could see a man lying down, apparently being treated by medical people.

“I got closer and saw that he had a severe head injury and they were not treating him, but getting his body ready to take him away. I then saw other bodies. There was a lot of commotion.”

An extract near the end said: “Some of the possessions - and I remember a sun hat in particular - were covered in blood and I remember we were trying to decide whether things like that should be returned or disposed of.”

Extremist Seifeddine Rezgui massacred 38 tourists - Blackpool couple Elaine and Denis Thwaites - on June 26 at the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba hotel.